If you’re like most adults, you can’t start your day without a cup of coffee. Or two, or five.
But drinking too much coffee can be bad for your health, so you might want to slow down. While coffee gives you an energy boost, this effect is only temporary, making you crave another cup so you can finish working even if you’re already tired.
Coffee contains caffeine, which is a potent central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. This means that caffeine temporarily energizes you. But if you have too much coffee, the constant stimulation that the CNS goes through may cause a shaky and jittery sensation. This jittery sensation signifies that your nervous system and adrenals, or the glands that regulate stress hormones, are reacting negatively to the excess stimulation. Too much coffee can then cause burnout when your adrenals have had enough.
When this happens, you will be stuck in “a continual cycle of caffeine stimulation, over-stimulation, and fatigue.” If you keep drinking coffee, you will soon need to drink more before you can do normal tasks. However, you will still feel tired when your energy runs out. This cycle also causes burnout of your energy levels.
Energy-boosting herbs and roots
These herbs and roots are natural alternatives to coffee. They can keep you energized without causing the jitters.
1. Chinese ginseng
Chinese ginseng is an adaptogen that is often used to improve longevity, raise energy levels, and strengthen the immune system. “Adaptogens” are a potent type of energizing herbs that help the body “adapt to stress and resist fatigue.” Adaptogens can boost overall vitality and energy levels.
2. Ginkgo biloba
Ginkgo biloba is often called the “brain herb” because of its positive effects on cognitive function. Gingko biloba can help boost brain activity and sharpen focus and memory.
Guarana extract comes from the Brazilian native plant Paullinia cupana. The extract can boost mental focus and energy. Gurana also helps improve the speed of short-term memory.
4. Maca root
Maca root, a plant endemic to Peru, has potent libido and energy-boosting properties. Another adaptogen, maca root can help improve learning, memory, mental function, and physical performance.
5. Rhodiola rosea
The plant can boost both endurance and strength. R. rosea can enhance performance and speed up workout recovery. The versatile plant can even reduce inflammation and address stress-related fatigue and depression.
6. Schizandra berry
Schizandra berries are one-of-a-kind energy boosters that also have herbal adaptogenic properties. Schizandra can improve mental performance, and it is an effective antioxidant.
7. Tongkat ali
Eurycoma longifolia or tongkat ali is ideal if you think stress is depleting your energy levels. Tongkat ali can help improve your mood and other stress parameters such as tension. It can also make it easier to deal with the effects of daily chronic stressors. Additionally, tongkat ali can boost libido and release testosterone.
8. Yerba mate
Yerba mate tea is brewed from the dried leaves of the Ilex paraguariensis plant. The tea is popular in South America, where it is in demand thanks to its vitality-enhancing effects. Yerba mate contains more antioxidants than green tea and it is linked to enhanced metabolism and physical performance. It can also suppress the appetite and help the body burn stored fat for energy.
You can add these herbs and roots to your diet any way you want, such as by taking them in powder form mixed with water.
Consider trying some of these natural energy-boosting alternatives if you wish to boost your brain function without any negative side effects. These herbs and roots can even help you respond better to stress while they also strengthen your body.
Fast facts on adaptogens
- Adaptogens are various plants that can help reduce the effects of stress on the body.
- Adaptogens can also function as energy and stress level regulators.
- They can lower stress levels by normalizing the body without overstimulating it.
- Adaptogens can help support adrenal function and the CNS. For example, medicinal mushrooms can help the body use oxygen efficiently.